| Von Glasersfeld's answers - October 2008  |


We are doing a project on Leslie Steffe and Ernst Von Glasersfeld? We are graduate students at the University of Georgia and would like to know if you could give us any information about IRON?

Thanks for your help,
Tonya and Stephanie 

Dear Tonya and Stephanie,

I am baffled why you cannot get all the information you need from Dr.Steffe himself. He usually is very helpful. Anyway, IRON was about ten years of "Interdisciplinary Research on Number" by Steffe, myself, John Richards, and graduate students. It was summarized in the book Children's counting types: Philosophy, theory, and application. (New York: Praeger, 1983). There were more than twenty papers published by us during that decade and you can find all the references in Steffe;s and my bibliography.

Best wishes,

Ernst von Glasersfeld


Dear Professor von Glasersfeld,
I'm an Italian psychologist, I'm trying to understand the epistemological foundations of Constructism. Studying your essays i decided to investigate Vico's works and Vico's construction of "ipsum verum factum". Reading "De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia" i ask to myself three questions that i can't understand without your help.

-Does Vico construe his philosophy as a neoplatonic philosophy and his ontology as a dualistic ontology (homo...nam extra se habet omnia)?
-Is Vico's construction of God a second-order epistemology (deus ens, creata entis) that not invalidate a constructivist construction of Vico?
-Is possible for a "daseinmensch" coerently construe experience through a constructivist epistemology (homo sibi confingit mundum)?

I hope not to annoy you with too much questions,
Best Regards

Simone Cheli


Dear Mr. Cheli,
Someone should write a book about the three questions you have formulated! I can no longer do it - but I think that I have built a foundation for it in my papers. Here are quick answers.

1) Vico lacked the concept of viability which radical constructivism substitutes for the representational relation between knowledge and reality. That is why he needed - like Berkeley - a theological metaphysics.
(You may get a clearer picture of this, if you read the anonymous review of De Antiquissima in the "Giornale de Letterati and Vico's reply (1711, as far as I remember).

2) Constructivism has nothing to say about ontology. It is a rational enterprise and metaphysics lies outside its reach. This does not create a contradiction because knowledge and faith are different, separate domains.

3) I think Radical Constructivism has gone a long way towards that goal. But, as I have said and written innumerable times, RC does not claim to be a description of reality, it is a way of thinking.

Best wishes,

Ernst von Glasersfeld



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